Plant Cell Walls
cell biology, plant cell walls, Arabidopis genetics
Leader: Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Georg Seifert
Plant cell walls represent the world’s most abundant natural resource for fuel, fibre, food and fodder. Despite the cell wall’s importance for human society much remains to be learned about its biosynthesis and its central role in plant life. Cell walls consist of cellulose microfibrils that are embedded in an amorphous matrix of cross-linking glucans, acidic pectins and highly glycosylated proteins such as extensins and arabinogalactan-proteins. The work of this group is dedicated to better understand the biosynthesis and functions of cell wall matrix polymers. One of our areas of interest is the regulation of cell wall carbohydrate precursor metabolism by multiple isoforms of nucleotide sugar interconversion enzymes, potentially leading to approaches to modulate cell wall matrix composition and thereby improving processing properties. Another long-term interest of our group is the investigation of plant cell wall performance and integrity control. This process that is best understood in yeast, is predicted to control plant growth in response to abiotic stress and pathogen attack. Its elucidation promises strategies to make crop biomass production less sensitive to abiotic stress.